Tesco set to come to Hadleigh afterall

AFTER years of arguing - and near civil war in the town - Hadleigh looks set to get a Tesco supermarket.Proposals by the Britain's largest supermarket group to move into the attractive Suffolk market town have split the community down the middle.

AFTER years of arguing - and near civil war in the town - Hadleigh looks set to get a Tesco supermarket.

Proposals by the Britain's largest supermarket group to move into the attractive Suffolk market town have split the community down the middle.

But now a government inspector has said that a supermarket should be built on the Brett works site in the middle of Hadleigh - exactly where Tesco wants to build.

John Bloomfield, chairman of the Hadleigh Society and one of the founders of lobby group Campaign Against Another Supermarket Hadleigh (CAASH) said: “We will continue fighting. The principle reason we are opposed to a supermarket is the fact that, despite Tesco's claims, the effect on local businesses is usually catastrophic.

“We suspected this (the inspector's decision) would happen because of the pressure on planning officers.”

CAASH is also concerned there will be an increase of traffic in the town and that any development will not be in keeping with the historic buildings.

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Tesco first announced it wanted to build a supermarket in the town 10 years ago - prompting a furious debate.

A rival proposal to expand the Buyright store on the edge of town and turn that into a large supermarket was favoured by some residents.

Meanwhile the Co-op announced plans to expand its store in the town centre - which is the only supermarket development to have taken place so far.

Planning officers at Babergh Council favoured the Tesco application because it would have developed the town centre.

But businesses there feared Tesco would swamp them - and many felt that if a new supermarket came to the town it would be better at the Buyright site to prevent Hadleigh from being overrun by traffic.

That was the view eventually supported by Babergh councillors - although before any development could take place the government stepped in and called in the applications.

Civil servants gave permission for the Co-op to expand, but said the other applications would have to wait to be considered in the overall Babergh local plan.

Now the government inspector's report on the local plan has been published, backing the Brett works site for a new supermarket.

Roy Smith, chairman of the Tesco Supporters Group in Hadleigh, today welcomed the news.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted. This is something we have wanted for seven years and when we had the referendum in the town 76 per cent of people were in favour of a supermarket in Hadleigh.

“In that seven years there has been opposition from just a handful.

“The only contentious thing really has been the site. We always thought Brett Works, being central, was the best one.”

The inspector's report also backs Babergh's proposal that the former sugar beet factory at Sproughton should be developed as a business park, not as a large new housing estate.

That could cause problems for JG Land which wanted to build Broadmeadow - a mixed-use development with hundreds of new homes - on the site.

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